Vendakai Gojju From Karnataka

Srilatha Main Dish, South Indian Leave a Comment

I love Kripal Singh’s Food Lovers TV where he spotlights older, unique, out of the way establishments mostly in Bengaluru. One of these episodes featured The New Modern Hotel (not sure of the name) in Bengaluru, and their homestyle cooking and thaali. Now, if I must choose someone to eat on my behalf, if that ever happens, I would choose Kripal. The way he experiences the food and relates the experience, the way he enjoys it – he is the BEST! The food featured was South Canara cuisine, I think it’s coastal karnataka, satvik food, plenty of coconut, and jaggery, and just everything good! I fell in love with this episode, and the side dish of okra gojju that he used the pooris to dip in. Googled the recipe, and I came up with what I think is the dish featured. From my research, it’s very similar to the pagarkai gojju made with a unique masala paste made of sesame seeds and coconut, in addition to the dals and red chilies. I had to make it immediately. Like the same evening. But I waited to serve it with with the pooris, along with a hodge podge thaali I made up with various leftovers, as I was craving a Woodlands style thaali. Here is the recipe!

Bisi-Bela-Huli-Anna (Spiced Lentil Rice)

Srilatha Main Dish, South Indian Leave a Comment

Bisi-bela-huli-anna is a signature dish of Karnataka cuisine. I have split the name to explain what it means.
In Kannada (language spoken in the state of Karnataka), bisi means hot, bela means lentil (paruppu/dal), huli means tamarind/puli, and anna means cooked rice. The name pretty much gives you the recipe in a nutshell! It’s a wholesome dish that has starch, protein, fat, and vitamins in the form of vegetables. Can be a one-pot dish if cooked the traditional way, but for ease and quickness, I cook the rice and the dal separately and add to the pot in which the tamarind is boiled with vegetables and spices. So, mine is kind of a 3-pot meal, but takes a lot less time.
This is an involved recipe and the list of ingredients could be intimidating at first, but if you plan and get organized, it really is a simple dish to make and enjoy for a couple of days! On to the recipe now!

Vangibath Masala Powder

Srilatha Basics, South Indian Leave a Comment

Vangibaath is a dish from the Indian state of Karnataka. It is a spiced rice dish made primarily with eggplant, and a special spice mix (masala). I learned this recipe from my very first friend in the US, Usha. When my babies were, well, babies, we used to spend a lot of time with Usha and her husband Shivu. They adopted our young family as their own. There was a lot of cooking that happened. As a delicious result, my cooking has been influenced by Usha’s karnataka style cooking quite a bit, and I still, after 20+ years, make a lot of dishes I learned from her. This is one of them.

This is the masala powder that is added to cooked rice and eggplant/brinjal. I also learned to use this powder with other vegetable+rice combos such as green pepper, and cauliflower.

Anyway, this powder, though readily available in most Indian grocery stores, tastes best when made fresh at home, and it doesn’t take a long time to make. I make it in small quantities whenever I need, but you can make it in small batches and store in the refrigerator.